Archive for the 'Early Career' Category

Metrics: Do You Know Yours?

 

 

Survey says — 7 out of 10 Early Career advisors don’t know their metrics!

I recently did a workshop for financial advisors with 3-7 years experience.  I asked, “Who keeps monthly books?  Who has computerized bookkeeping?”

Surprisingly thirty percent raised their hands and the rest shrugged.

Metrics are your numbers and the math.  You need to know!

How much in assets do I require to generate the revenue I need?

What are my monthly expenses? Quarterly expenses?

What are my expenses as a percentage of revenue?

What are my receivables or payables?

What are my margins?  Can I hire?  Can I give someone a raise or bonus?

You get the idea!

Any advisor, like any small business, needs solid systems to help run the business.

Accounting can be done in-house using products like QuickBooks OR outsourced to a bookkeeper or to your accountant.

The cost of outsourcing is worth it.  This will give you the faith and confidence to know where you are.

Guide – Your business needs a financial plan and a full monthly P&L will be your scorecard.

Action Item – Find a trusted bookkeeper and start tracking your metrics.

© 2009 The Advisors Center, LLC – All Rights Reserved

Please leave comments to share with others by clicking the comment link below the title of this article.

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Develop Your Niche! Where do you Start?

 

You have heard this before! Develop a niche.

Become an expert and service that niche!

Right? So where do you start?

Start with this exercise:

First, write down the names of your five FAVORITE clients. These are not necessarily your five biggest (but they could be), but are the five your really like. Whenever they call, you are happy to talk to them. None of these folks should give you that electric probe to the gut feeling…

Now look a the list carefully.

Write down anything and everything these five have in common–age, occupation, geography, hair color, type of car, favorite football team, risk tolerance, goals, whatever.

You may likely see some things in common.  These are the clients you are passionate about.  These are the type of clients that may have caused you to become an advisor in the place.

A pattern may be emerging! 

Now start a second list.

Write down how you came to know each of these great clients. How were they acquired? Who referred them?

Perhaps another pattern?

This may be the beginning of your niche. Try to become an expert in the needs of these people.

Want to serve more of them? Sure!  Let these clients and all your referral sources know that you’d like more new clients just like these!

Guide – Developing a niche gives you the satisfaction to fuel your passion.

Action Item – Let your niche be known and become even more of an expert to those people you love.

© 2009 The Advisors Center, LLC – All Rights Reserved

Please leave comments to share with others by clicking the comment link below the title of this article.

Client Review Meetings – Do you have a standard?

Client Review Meetings – Do you have a standard?

Based on my experience, very few professional advisors have a standardized client review presentation. This creates problems and results in lost opportunities.

Clients want to know:

  • Where was I? 
  • Where am I now? 
  • Where am I going?
  • Will I get to where I need to be on time?

Clients also want to feel comfortable that you are on top of their financial situation and that there is a plan.

Problems with not having a Client Review Meeting Standard:

  • Poor client retention because you cannot present or explain your value proposition (Over 65% of  professional advisor clients leave due to poor communication).
  • Poor results because you and the client might be going in different directions or have conflicting expectations.
  • Wasted time because you did the wrong or irrelevant work.
  • Inefficient prep time because you and your staff are constantly creating “one offs” in advance of client review meetings.

 Benefits with having a Client Review Meeting Standard:

  • Great client communication resulting in clients feeling confident that you understand their unique circumstances, needs and goals.
  • You can do great work because you are delivering the “right” work.
  • Your time is leveraged because your staff can develop and deliver most of the elements of the report in advance based on your standardized meeting review process.

What to do next?

Work to design output that meets these requirements… 

  • This might mean instituting a CRM system that tracks this stuff. 
  • This might mean redesigning your billing system.
  • This might mean working with your graphics person to create a cohesive and professional look to your presentations and reports.
  • This might mean training your staff to deliver what you want.
  • And it certainly might mean meeting with a few key clients to “test” the report!

Well, I think you get the idea.

Having a well designed client review “system” will communicate to clients that YOU AND YOUR STAFF REALLY HAVE YOUR ACT TOGETHER!

This will lead to keeping more clients, getting more referrals, better relationships with your clients other advisors (tax, legal, etc.) and, again, more referrals!

Guide – A standardized client review package is a big win for all involved.

Action Item – Start by meeting with your staff to design something new and then refine it as you go.  Something is very likely better than nothing!

 

© 2009 The Advisors Center, LLC – All Rights Reserved

Do I need MY own website?

Asking if you need you own website is like asking if you need your own business card. 

Do you carry a company card?  This would be like a business card that doesn’t  have your name on it.  Or a card with your name printed,  but SOOO small that no one can read it!

I truly believe that today’s consumers and business clients DEMAND and deserve a personalized website.

This may be as simple as an electronic brochure to validate your existence (clean and neat) or as sophisticated as an interactive educational experience highlighting the virtues of your business and services.

I urge you to consider not using an advisor page template from your organization.   If you are selling your firm’s services, then maybe you are just another sales person and not a trusted advisor?  Think about that!

The benefit of your own personalized site is just that: personalization.  It speaks about you and your unique value proposition.  The cost is up to you.  You can spend several hundred dollars for a template site (like business cards from a mass marketer) or you can spend many thousands to create a custom design.

Guide – Not having your own website  = Not having your own business card.

Action item – Find a web developer in your area and within your budget to create something personal.

Truth or Dare?

As I began my career in the financial services industry, we were taught to sell.  We were taught how to respond to objections, we were taught how to close, how to turn people around, how to be persuasive.  And while this training was important and perhaps invaluable, there was an inherent falsehood to it all.  It was all about the sale.

We were not taught to be honest, forthright or truthful.  We were not taught to listen, to be empathetic, to have people skills.  We were taught about body language as a way to better close. 

As you think about your “sales” training, do your think, hmmmm “Truth” or “Dare”.  “Gosh, if I tell the whole truth he or she will not buy!” “Man, I cannot tell my prospect that negative attribute to my product or I cannot make rent!”

What I have come to observe and learn is that the old fashion close is just that.  To forge relationships with clients will lead to a much higher level of success.  Be a leader.  Be a champion.  Be the kind of person your children or family will admire.  Be the person your clients will admire and be grateful for.  This will lead to loyalty.  This leads to “sticky” clients.  This means less stress for you and less stress for them.

Don’t play truth or dare, don’t play close to the edge and don’t play with people.   Just don’t play!

Guide:  Picture yourself as being admired for your integrity. Picture yourself as someone to be emulated.

Action Item:  Listen, give full disclosure, review every document with your client and do not be afraid to be truthful.

PS – My Dad, an “old school” insurance man passed away this week.  He taught me many things over the years but the biggest lesson I learned is that you are nothing without your integrity.  Thanks Pop!  and so I will step off the soapbox – for now….

Systems vs. One-Offs

Is your practice or business made up of tightly integrated systems or a jumbled mess of sorta customized one-offs?

If you have systems, then you have scalability, harmony and less work with more revenue.

If your practice consists of many “special” situations, I want you to think about this – “Can I deliver a quality work product and pay attention to all these unique factors and not make mistakes?’

I would suggest that unless your business is very small (few clients) and you want it to stay that way, you have a disaster (and/or lawsuit) waiting to happen.

Systems are the backbone of any business. 

Recommended reading:  The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber

Guide:  Build your practice around consistantly repeatable processes.

Action item:  Contact us about helping build out your “systems”

Do you have a brand?

Much has been written about brand so I will only say a little.

GET ONE! HAVE ONE! BE ONE!

You must have a branding strategy.  Seek out someone to assist you. 

Branding means a coordinated effort.  Everything must go with everything.

This means:  business cards, stationary, envelopes, memo pads, note pads, web site, signage, voice mail message, email signatures… EVERYTHING.

I am shocked at how many advisors are lazy and do not do this!!!!

Guide – Make sure ALL your stuff REALLY matches – It looks unprofessional if it doesn’t.

Action items – Find someone to help you do this.

I will discuss this more over time.


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